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Cold Weather Payment Scheme - Explained

Cold Weather Payment’ is a government scheme that has been made to support those in financial need in times of low temperatures. As opposed to the discount format of the ‘Warm Home Discount’, for example, the Cold Weather Payment will be paid directly into the bank or building society account of the recipient. The premise is that if you meet the criteria (listed below) and the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for 7 consecutive days, the government will help you out with energy costs. This is different to ‘Winter Fuel Payments’.

The payment amount between 1st November 2016 - 31st March 2017 is £25 for each seven day period.

You can also use the government’s postcode checker tool to see if you are eligible for any such payment in your area.

Check your postcode

Eligibility

This scheme is not for everyone: as mentioned above, this scheme is for those in financial need, and the government has set some eligibility criteria in order to best focus their budget to those who need it most. You are eligible for this scheme if you receive any of the following:

  • Pension Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit

Pension Credit

In the majority of cases you will receive Cold Weather Payments if you receive Pension Credit

Income Support and Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

If you receive Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance you are most likely eligible for Cold Weather Payments if you have any of the following:

  • A child who is disabled
  • A disability or pensioner premium
  • A child under the age of 5 living with you
  • ‘Child Tax Credit’ that includes disability or severe disability

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

If you receive ‘Income-related ESA’ and have any of the following, you should usually receive Cold Weather Payments:

  • Support or work-related ESA
  • A child who is disabled
  • A severe or enhanced disability premium
  • A pensioner premium
  • A child under the age of 5 living with you
  • ‘Child Tax Credit’ that includes disability or severe disability

Universal Credit

You should usually receive Cold Weather Payments if you are unemployed or self-employed and any of the following applies to your situation:

  • You get a limited capability for work element (with or without a work-related activity element)
  • You have the disabled child element in your claim
  • You have a child under the age of 5 living with you

If you have a disabled child element in your claim, you will be eligible regardless of employment.

NoteIf you are admitted to hospital, this could affect your payment. As such you should tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus office. If you get Universal credit, you should contact the helpline instead.

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone number: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Lines open Monday to Friday: 8am - 6pm


How to receive the payments

If you are eligible for Cold Winter Payments and your area is set for a period of 7 or more consecutive days below zero degrees, you should receive the payment automatically within 14 working days.

If you don’t receive the payment automatically and you believe that you meet the criteria, tell your pension centre or Jobcentre Plus office. If you get Universal Credit, you should contact the helpline instead using the following contact information.

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone number: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Lines open Monday to Friday: 8am - 6pm